FINAL: Saint John 0, Quebec 3
QUEBEC CITY, QC - In the first game of a difficult three-game road trip through the province of Quebec (and third game of five straight away from the friendly confines of Harbour Station), the Saint John Sea Dogs (13-4-0-3) were in Quebec City to face the Remparts (15-6-0-0). The Sea Dogs played a solid road game but fell 3-0 to the 2015 Memorial Cup hosts at the Colisee Pepsi Wednesday evening.
Marc-Olivier Roy, Guillaume Gauthier and Kurt Etchegary scored for Quebec and Callum Booth made 26 saves for the shutout. The loss ended the Sea Dogs' four game win streak and was Saint John's first regulation time loss in eight games. The win was Quebec's second of the season against Saint John.
At 6:11 of the first period, after a clean face-off win, Roy tipped a point shot from Ryan Graves past a screened Sebastien Auger to open the scoring. With about four minutes left in the period, just a few seconds into a penalty kill, Spencer Smallman was sprung for a breakaway but Booth came up with a huge glove save to keep the Sea Dogs off the score board. As expected, the Remparts came out strong and led 1-0 after one. Quebec also out shot the Sea Dogs 10-7 in the first period.
After a cautious start to the second period, play really opened up and both teams had several good scoring chances ... but, as a result of a combination of misfires and excellent goaltending, neither team was able to score until 15:08 of the period. Following sustained pressure in the Sea Dogs end, Gauthier wired a wrist shot from the right wing faceoff circle past a screened Auger to make it 2-0 for Quebec. The Sea Dogs argued that Auger had been interfered with on that goal but the referees saw it otherwise. The Remparts led 12-11 on the shot clock and ended the period up 2-0.
The Remparts played a solid defensive third period. Then at 17:47, a turnover at the Remparts' blue line lead to a two-on-one break in which Adam Erne carried the puck into the Saint John zone and fed a lovely back door pass to Etchegary to make it 3-0. The Sea Dogs pulled Auger with about two minutes left but just couldn't find a way to get a puck past Booth. Shots favoured Quebec 12-8 in the third and the Remparts ended the game out shooting Saint John 34-26.
Callum Booth's save off Spencer Smallman's first period breakaway set the tone for the night. Then, Guilliame Gauthier's goal late in the second allowed the Remparts to focus more on defense in the third period.
S.N. PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Callum Booth made several big saves, notably against Smallman and Adam Marsh, to backstop the win. His strong play is quieting talk of potential goaltending upgrades for Quebec during the Christmas trade period. Ryan Graves was a force at both ends of the ice for Quebec. His presence has appeared to stabilize the Remparts' defense.
Despite ending the game with a -2 +/- rating, Matthew Highmore showed plenty of jump and led the Sea Dogs with eight shots on goal.
- The Sea Dogs remained No. 3 in the BMO CHL Top Ten rankings. The Rimouski Oceanic (sixth) and the Baie-Comeau Drakkar (tenth) were also ranked from the QMJHL, while Quebec and Sherbrooke received honourable mentions.
- Luke Green returned to the line-up after playing with Canada's Team White at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Green ended the tournament with 4 points (1G, 3A) in five games.
- Goalie Blade Mann-Dixon (healthy); defensemen Adam Bateman (upper body) and Braydon Blight (healthy); as well as forwards Matt Green (healthy) and Alex Kealey (overall body soreness) were not in uniform for Saint John. Neither Bateman nor Kealey accompanied the team on this road trip.
- Sea Dogs defenseman Olivier LeBlanc had roughly 50 family members and friends cheering for him. Several other Sea Dogs from Quebec had their own cheering sections for Saint John's only regular season visit to the Colisee Pepsi.
- Former Sea Dogs Marcus Cuomo, Nicolas Hebert and Alex McQuaid were all in the Remparts line-up.
The Sea Dogs travel to Chicoutimi for an 8 p.m. game against the Sagueneens on Friday. They end their road trip in Baie-Comeau on Saturday with for a 5 p.m. start against the Drakkar.